Yes, it's not the Sabres but there were plenty of people in Niagara Falls, South Buffalo and West Seneca on Saturday who hope that someday it might be. That said, they were plenty happy to see South Buffalo's Patrick Kane bring the Stanley Cup home to Western New York for the second time in four years.
Each player on the Cup-winning team gets the trophy for 24 hours and Saturday was Kane's day in honor of the Chicago Blackhawks' championship secured with their dramatic Game Six comeback in June over the Boston Bruins. Kane also came with the Conn Smythe Trophy for his MVP performance in the playoffs.
Kane's day started with some family pictures with the Cup and Conn Smythe along Lake Erie before he headed to the Niagara Falls Air Base to greet service personnel, as well as members of the Buffalo Sled Veteran Warriors and Buffalo Warriors hockey teams (below right). Kane brought the Cup into Hangar 907 on a large military humvee (above left) and was greeted by Congressman Brian Higgins as well as military personnel.
"For you guys to give up your personal lives and sacrifice for what you do for our country is unbelievable," Kane told the crowd. "I can carry around a Stanley Cup that's 35 pounds or an MVP trophy that's brought along with us here today but you guys carry our country on your back. It's really amazing."
Then it was on to one of Kane's favorite pizza stops, Imperial Pizza on Abbott Road in South Buffalo. Several hundred fans, many in Blackhawks jerseys, were on hand to greet Kane as was Mayor Byron Brown. The crowd was even bigger at the West Seneca Town Rink on Union Road, where a couple thousand greeted Kane as he rode the Cup to the front door on a zamboni and then took it inside to a huge ovation from several hundred jersey-clad youth hockey players.
The microphone at the West Seneca ceremony was dead but it was still clear Kane was being presented a proclamation of "Patrick Kane Week" in the town and a No. 88 jersey of the West Seneca Wings, his youth hockey team for five years.
"It was a thrill of a lifetime, riding in and being on the back of the Zamboni carrying the Stanley Cup, with all the little kids and people wearing the jersey that you once wore screaming your name," Kane said. "So it was definitely a fun moment."
There were plenty of them for the Blackhawks star Saturday. Stay tuned to Buffalonews.com for move photos and a video wrapping up the day with photographer Mark Mulville and Senior Sports Columnist Jerry Sullivan. For an early look at some photos and Vine videos of the festivities at all three sites, you can review my Twitter account here.
For a look at what all the Blackhawks have done with the Cup this summer, check out NHL.com's Summer With Stanley Blog.